A couple of years ago, I was speaking at the Danville library on How to Eat with the Seasons, and a lovely lady by the name of Marsha Cheung Golangco stayed after my talk and asked me to write a chapter in her upcoming book about The Power of Feng Shui for Green Living. One year later, as I was again speaking at the Danville library, this time on Eating Organic, she handed me a copy of her book with my section on Seasonal Food. Thank you Marsha for including me in your quest to share your passions of Feng Shui and the benefits of green living for the health of all living beings on mother earth.
Scroll down to read my section on Seasonal Food.
Spring – Eat deep leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale and radishes filled with water, chlorophyll, minerals from the soil, and phytonutrients to aid in detoxification of the body in this season of renewal, helping us to shed excess weight and toxins from a more sedentary lifestyle during the winter months.
Summer – Eat colorful fruits like berries, peaches, and plums filled with water to cool us down and sugar to give us extra energy on the longer, hotter days. Cucumbers, parsley and mint are also good for cooling down in the heat.
Fall – Eat squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and seeds filled with complex carbohydrates to help us store energy and preserve it for the colder, winter months ahead.
Winter – Eat citrus fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges filled with water to combat the dry air and vitamin C to boost immunity to ward off colds and flu. Also eat avocadoes and nuts filled with healthy fats and vitamin E to help insulate us from the cold and reduce inflammation.
The majority of the time, the deeper the color of fruits and veggies, the more nutrient dense they are. Science backs this up. As for containing more Chi, the Feng Shui term for energy or life force, that is for more contemplation. Basically however, the more nutrient rich food the more Chi it could/should provide to the body. That said, our bodies need to be in a healthy enough state to receive and absorb this nutrition and powerful energy.
A basic backyard, patio or windowsill are perfect places to start your own edible kitchen garden to ensure you are eating at least some seasonal foods. Start with a few basic herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano, cilantro, mint and stevia. They all grow easily from seed and can be grown indoors and out in a sunny space. These herbs can be used in several beverages and meals to enhance digestion or to just spice up a meal.
I LOVE FOOD, period. Growing and cooking foods has been part of my life since I was seven years old. I learned the basics from my mother, Cleonne, in our kitchen and large garden on our family farm in rural Illinois. Eating seasonally was the only way I knew. I also learned preservation of food since we couldn’t grow anything outside in the frozen earth covered in snow from November-April. Several years later, after 4-H cooking awards and high school home economics classes, I found myself in college studying nutrition and working part-time in hospital kitchens.
After graduation, hospital internship, and a big exam, I became a Registered Dietitian and preferred being in the kitchen or educating the community about healthy eating. Rather than walking the hospital corridors working with pharmaceuticals, I preferred working with food as a healing medicine. After an overseas stint in Australia, and later marrying my wonderful husband, James who was born in Turkey, my appreciation for international cuisine grew. I now blend my traditional mid-west favorites in with international recipes to cook very creative meals with dishes that are mostly vegan and have gluten and dairy free options. My cooking and teaching are also influenced by my yoga practice and study of Ayurveda, an ancient art of eating for health whose philosophies lie in eating with the seasons according to your specific body constitution.
So when it comes to eating Seasonally and Sustainably to support a Green Living Lifestyle, “Let Mother Nature be your guide,” I always say.